Thursday, October 29, 2015

What "Loving Your Neighbor" Is All About

Pray. Care. Share. It's what "loving your neighbor" is all about. 

Sometimes, though, the Share part requires new approaches. Even Jesus Himself used a wide spectrum of approaches. A "different" approach also was needed with a Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) Hindu student named Ahbi.

I had encouraged my oldest son, Jonathan, to invite three or four of his new friends to go out with us for pizza. Ahbi and two other friends said yes.

After the pizzas were ordered (including a large vegetarian), I deliberately created an inciting incident. How? I turned to Ahbi and asked him what he thought of Christianity. Ahbi railed on and on about Christianity’s faults (mostly parroting what he had heard his parents and professors say).

Instead of correcting Ahbi’s obvious factual errors and misperceptions, I encouraged Ahbi to keep railing against Christianity. Why? It was an inciting incident of my own making. I let Ahbi vent his anger (and ignorance) by being an active listener, by not correcting Ahbi’s mistakes, and by not being judgmental.

Then I started asking my son and two other new friends what they thought. It turned out both friends were fairly strong (but shy) Christians.

In the end, I didn’t address one of Ahbi’s issues. Finally, Ahbi started admitting he really didn’t know that much about Christianity, and he started asking questions.

In response, I called it a night, encouraging Ahbi to consider reading the Jesus story in the Bible with one of his three Christian friends. Why? To see how Jesus addressed Ahbi’s questions.

Before anyone gave Ahbi the “right” answers, Ahbi needed to discover them for himself in Jesus and the Scriptures.

You can imagine my joy when Ahbi got back in touch with me. "Did you hear the news?" A few nights earlier he shared his testimony with 300+ Cru students. Pray. Care. Share. It's what "loving your neighbor" is all about!